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What Is Inflammation

What Is Inflammation

What Is Inflammation – And Why Is It Bad For Your Health

If you want to know the answer to what is inflammation and understand the consequences of chronic inflammation on your health, you are in the right place. Inflammation is a natural and necessary response of the body’s immune system to fight off infections, injuries, or other harmful stimuli. It involves the release of white blood cells and chemicals to protect and heal damaged tissue. However, when inflammation becomes chronic or uncontrolled, it can have detrimental effects on our health.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, heart disease. It can also contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body.1 2

What Is Inflammation – And Why Is It Bad For Our Health

So why is chronic inflammation bad for our health? One reason is that inflammation can lead to tissue damage and scarring, causing organs to function improperly. Additionally, chronic inflammation can disrupt the normal functioning of the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and diseases.3

What Causes Chronic Inflammatory Conditions

There are several factors that can contribute to chronic inflammatory conditions, including a lack of exercise, a poor diet high in processed foods and sugar, toxins, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic stress. Genetics also play a role in how our body responds to inflammation.4

What Is Inflammation – Lack Of Exercise Causes Inflammation

Exercise is a fundamental part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it help keep our bodies in shape, but it also plays an important role in preventing inflammation. One common cause of chronic inflammation is a lack of exercise. When we don’t engage in physical activity, our bodies become more susceptible to inflammation and its negative effects.

Regular exercise helps improve circulation and strengthens the immune system, making it easier for the body to fight off infection and injury. It also helps regulate hormones and reduce stress, both of which can contribute to inflammation.

Furthermore, exercise can also help maintain a healthy weight, as obesity is another major contributor to chronic inflammation. Being overweight puts extra stress on the body’s organs and tissues, leading to an increased risk of inflammation-related diseases such as heart disease.

In addition to preventing inflammation, regular exercise has numerous other benefits for our overall health. It can improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and flexibility, and boost mood and energy levels.

If you want to reduce your risk of chronic inflammation and improve your overall well-being, make sure to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Remember, even small amounts of physical activity can make a big difference in preventing inflammation and promoting good health.5

What Is Inflammation - Lack of exercise

Poor Diet Linked To Chronic Inflammatory Conditions

One of the main culprits in commercially farmed food is the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These are plants that have had their genetic material altered in a laboratory to make them more resistant to pests, toxins, and diseases. GMOs have been linked to various health issues, including inflammation.6

Another factor contributing to inflammation in commercially farmed food is the use of pesticides. These chemicals are used to kill pests and protect crops, but they can also harm our bodies. Some pesticides have been found to disrupt the communication pathways in our cells, leading to inflammation.7

Additionally, commercially farmed animals are often fed with grains that contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. While these fatty acids play an important role in our body, excessive consumption can lead to inflammation.8

To reduce the risk of inflammation from commercially farmed food, it is important to choose organic and non-GMO options whenever possible. These foods are produced without the use of harmful chemicals and have been found to contain higher levels of anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Processed foods are food items that have been altered through various methods such as freezing, canning, or drying. These processed foods contain high levels of sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats which can trigger inflammation when consumed regularly. In addition, these foods often lack essential nutrients and antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body.9

High consumption of refined sugars from processed foods, pastries, desserts, and beverages can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. This triggers the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to an inflammatory response in the body. It is important to limit added sugars in our diet and opt for natural sources of sugars such as fruits.9

Omega-6-rich vegetable oils are commonly used in cooking and processed foods. As with grain-fed animals, these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids which can promote inflammation when consumed in excess. 

Trans fats are found in fried foods, baked goods, margarine, and processed snacks. Trans fats have been linked to chronic inflammation and various health issues. These unhealthy fats can increase the production of inflammatory markers in the body and should be avoided as much as possible.10 11

Read more about food that has been linked to autoimmune symptoms.

What Is Inflammation - Toxins Cause Inflammation

What Is Inflammation – Toxins Cause Inflammation

One major cause of chronic inflammation is exposure to toxins. Toxins are substances that are harmful to the body and can disrupt its normal functions. Heavy metals, pollution, moldy air, phthalates, and endocrine disrupting chemicals are some of the most common toxins that can lead to chronic inflammation.

Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium are known to accumulate in the body over time and can cause damage to tissues and organs. Exposure to these heavy metals has been linked to various health problems including inflammation. Pollution, especially air pollution, is also a major contributor to chronic inflammation. Breathing in polluted air can lead to respiratory issues and trigger inflammatory responses in the body.12

Moldy air, often found in damp environments or buildings with poor ventilation, contains mold spores that can cause allergic reactions and trigger inflammation. Phthalates are chemicals commonly found in plastics and household products such as cosmetics and cleaning agents. These chemicals have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, leading to inflammation.13

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances that can interfere with the body’s hormonal balance. Exposure to EDCs has been linked to various health issues including chronic inflammation. EDCs can be found in everyday products such as pesticides, plastics, and even food.14

Avoiding exposure to toxins is crucial in preventing chronic inflammation. This can be done by reducing the use of products containing these harmful substances, opting for natural and organic alternatives, and properly ventilating living spaces. Regular detoxification practices such as drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and consuming antioxidant-rich foods can also help reduce toxin buildup in the body.15 16

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce inflammation and improve our overall health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in whole foods, regular exercise, stress management techniques, and avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can help prevent or reduce chronic inflammation.

How To Reduce Inflammation – Diet

Adopting a healthy diet can help reduce inflammation in the body and promote overall health. One of the key components of an anti-inflammatory diet is including foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish. Omega-3s have been found to possess strong anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to fish, grass-fed meat is also a great source of omega-3s and other important nutrients like vitamin A and iron. Cows that are grass-fed have a higher concentration of omega-3s in their meat compared to conventionally raised cows, making it a healthier option for those looking to reduce inflammation.17 18

Vegetables, especially leafy greens, are also great additions to an anti-inflammatory diet. These vegetables are packed with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds that can help combat inflammation in the body.

Healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts are also important components of an anti-inflammatory diet. These foods contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. They also provide essential nutrients and help maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for reducing inflammation.19

Read more about eating a healthy diet.

Cellular healing diet

How To Stop Inflammation – Fasting

Fasting is an ancient practice that has gained popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation. By giving our digestive system a break, fasting allows the body to focus on healing and repairing any existing inflammation.

Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. This practice has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Time-restricted eating is another form of intermittent fasting that involves limiting the time frame in which we consume food each day. Research has suggested that this can help reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.20

What Is Inflammation – And Why Is It Bad For Your Health

While inflammation is a necessary response for our body’s defense, chronic inflammatory conditions can have negative impacts on our health. By understanding the causes and implementing lifestyle changes we can reduce inflammation and improve our overall well-being.

Read more about the connection between inflammation and autoimmune conditions.


1 Inflammation. (n.d.). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

2 Furman D, Campisi J, Verdin E, Carrera-Bastos P, Targ S, Franceschi C, Ferrucci L, Gilroy DW, Fasano A, Miller GW, Miller AH, Mantovani A, Weyand CM, Barzilai N, Goronzy JJ, Rando TA, Effros RB, Lucia A, Kleinstreuer N, Slavich GM. 2019. Chronic Inflammation in the Etiology of Disease Across the Life Span. Nature Medicine. 25(12):1822–1832.

3 Xu W, Larbi A. Immunity and Inflammation: From Jekyll to Hyde. Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jul 1;107:98-101. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2017.11.018. Epub 2017 Nov 26. PMID: 29187316.

4 Pahwa R, Goyal A, Jialal I. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2023 Aug 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

5 Metsios, G. S., Moe, R. H., & Kitas, G. D. (2020). Exercise and inflammation. Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology, 34(2), 101504.

6 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources; Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016 May 17. 5, Human Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops. Available from:

8 University of Eastern Finland. (2019, January 15). Effects of linoleic acid on inflammatory response depend on genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 8, 2023 from

9 Narula, N., Wong, E. C. L., Dehghan, M., Mente, A., Rangarajan, S., Lanas, F., Lopez-Jaramillo, P., Rohatgi, P., Lakshmi, P. V. M., Varma, R. P., Orlandini, A., Avezum, A., Wielgosz, A., Poirier, P., Almadi, M. A., Altuntas, Y., Ng, K. K., Chifamba, J., Yeates, K., Puoane, T., … Yusuf, S. (2021). Association of ultra-processed food intake with risk of inflammatory bowel disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 374, n1554.

10 Mignogna, C., Costanzo, S., Di Castelnuovo, A., Ruggiero, E., Shivappa, N., Hebert, J. R., Esposito, S., De Curtis, A., Persichillo, M., Cerletti, C., Donati, M. B., de Gaetano, G., Iacoviello, L., Bonaccio, M., & Moli-sani Study Investigators (2022). The inflammatory potential of the diet as a link between food processing and low-grade inflammation: An analysis on 21,315 participants to the Moli-sani study. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), 41(10), 2226–2234.

11 Ma, X., Nan, F., Liang, H., Shu, P., Fan, X., Song, X., Hou, Y., & Zhang, D. (2022). Excessive intake of sugar: An accomplice of inflammation. Frontiers in immunology, 13, 988481.

12 Cortés, S., Zúñiga-Venegas, L., Pancetti, F., Covarrubias, A., Ramírez-Santana, M., Adaros, H., & Muñoz, L. (2021). A Positive Relationship between Exposure to Heavy Metals and Development of Chronic Diseases: A Case Study from Chile. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 1419.

13 Kraft, S., Buchenauer, L., & Polte, T. (2021). Mold, Mycotoxins and a Dysregulated Immune System: A Combination of Concern?. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(22), 12269. 

14 Endocrine Disruptors. (2022). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

15 Koniecki D, Wang R, Moody RP, Zhu J. Phthalates in cosmetic and personal care products: concentrations and possible dermal exposure. Environ Res. 2011 Apr;111(3):329-36. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Feb 18. PMID: 21315328.

16 Air Pollution and Your Health. (2023). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

17 McAfee, A. J., McSorley, E. M., Cuskelly, G. J., Fearon, A. M., Moss, B. W., Beattie, J. A., Wallace, J. M., Bonham, M. P., & Strain, J. J. (2011). Red meat from animals offered a grass diet increases plasma and platelet n-3 PUFA in healthy consumers. The British journal of nutrition, 105(1), 80–89.

18 Belinda S Lennerz, Jacob T Mey, Owen H Henn, David S Ludwig, Behavioral Characteristics and Self-Reported Health Status among 2029 Adults Consuming a “Carnivore Diet”, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 12, December 2021, nzab133,

19 Marcelino, G., Hiane, P. A., Freitas, K. C., Santana, L. F., Pott, A., Donadon, J. R., & Guimarães, R. C. A. (2019). Effects of Olive Oil and Its Minor Components on Cardiovascular Diseases, Inflammation, and Gut Microbiota. Nutrients, 11(8), 1826.

20 Research on intermittent fasting shows health benefits. (2020, February 27). National Institute on Aging.

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